Reaching outside the church walls into the community is the new focus for Burks United Methodist Church.
"We've made changes to be more focused outwardly in the world," said church pastor the Rev. Nathan Malone. "God's love is awesome and constantly inspires us to new heights and levels of love and service. We must never forget following the example of our Lord to reach out to those that don't know him."
Burks UMC will host a Ministry and Missions Fair Sept. 25 to invite everyone in the church to consider joining one church ministry and one public ministry. Booths will be in the narthex during church services for sign-ups.
"We will have booths about the Ronald McDonald House, St. Andrew's Center, the Bethlehem Center, the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, the Chattanooga Area Food Bank and Soddy-Daisy Food Bank," said Malone, referring to ministries outside the church. "Ministries inside the church people can serve in are the nursery, children's choir, teaching Sunday school classes for children and youth and singing in our church choirs."
Malone said the church's Stephen Ministry is also an option. Stephen ministers members talk one-on-one with shut-ins.
Church members will continue to focus on ministries outside the walls through the third Sunday in October.
"Several members of our congregation are developing a devotional for those four weeks," said Malone. "We believe that it's important that we stay connected to God. We must be replenished ourselves to be stronger to go out and serve as a church."
Malone said Burks UMC is revamping a lot of things inside the church in order to better reach others. The church has new lighting in the narthex and a new conference room, and church members are contributing to a building fund to construct a new wing for youth.
Burks United Methodist Church is kicking off a new worship schedule beginning Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. with a weekly Thursday worship service to accommodate weekend workers and travelers. Church staff will add more Sunday services to give even more options to members and visitors beginning Sunday, Sept. 18.
"It's good to offer options in order to reach more people," said Burks pastor the Rev. Nathan Malone. "We will use different musical styles to connect people to God."
The new Sunday schedule begins with a 9 a.m. traditional worship inside the sanctuary featuring the church choir and hymns. Sunday school will be at 10 a.m.
A second traditional service will begin at 11 a.m. in the church fellowship hall. At the same time, a contemporary worship service will begin in the sanctuary featuring the church's Cross Fire Worship Band. Musicians in the band play the drums, keyboard, acoustic and electric guitars, bongos, shakers, bells, the flute, saxophone and trumpet.
A third traditional service will be at 2 p.m. also in the church sanctuary.
All these are signs of the church's new vision, he said, which is "learning to love and serve God and all people ... beyond all expectations." The church's mission statement is "to connect people to Jesus Christ, his church and his purpose for our lives" and its journey statement is "loving, serving and connecting."
Burks UMC enrolls a membership of 1,500 and welcomes new members and visitors. Church staff added three new part-time positions to help reach three key groups of people; directors of young adult ministry, senior adult ministry and mission ministry have already been found. The church is also launching its new website, www.burks.org, to continue reaching people for Christ.
Burks United Methodist Church, at 6433 Hixson Pike in Hixson, can be reached at 842-4219.